Truth Lies and Character

Embrace the truth, reject lies and edify character as an excellent virtue.

What and How To Buy

Posted by James Jett on February 4, 2007


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) operates a nationwide system of hospitals, clinics, Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN), data processing centers, and National Cemeteries which require a broad spectrum of goods and services.   We purchase these goods and services on a national, regional, and local level.   So no matter how large or small your business is, VA is a potential customer.   Each facility is listed at the end of this document.   Purchases a majority of its requirements for direct delivery through its local Acquisition and Materiel Management office.   You are encouraged to contact each facility for inclusion in its procurement process.

What do they buy?

Although there are certain priority sources identified by Federal regulations, each facility purchases a considerable amount of its requirements from both local and nationwide sources.   Examples of items purchased are:

  • Pharmaceuticals and medical and surgical supplies
  • Perishable subsistence
  • Equipment, supplies, and materials for facility operation
  • Maintenance and repair of medical and scientific equipment
  • Building construction, maintenance, and repair
  • Prosthetic and orthopedic aids
  • Medical gases

How do they buy?

Acquisitions are accomplished by sealed bidding, negotiation, or simplified acquisition procedures.   Each of these methods is designed to promote full and open competition to the maximum extent possible, which in turn allows all responsible bidders/offerors an opportunity to compete.   The most suitable, efficient, and economical procedure will be used, taking into consideration the circumstances of each acquisition.   Depending on the commodity (supplies, nonpersonal services, construction, etc.), most acquisitions at a medical center are of a definite-delivery/indefinite-quantity type.   Much of the purchasing is accomplished through the use of mandatory sources such as Federal Supply Schedules and supply depots.   A significant portion, however, will be acquired from sources obtained through the publication of solicitations in the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps), solicitation mailing lists, commercial advertising, or any other accepted means that will provide the procuring activity with a sufficient number of responsible bidders/offerors to ensure full and open competition.

Full and Open Competition

VA medical centers strive to promote and provide full and open competition in the acquisition process.   In so doing, specifications are designed to meet each medical center’s minimum needs and also to be compatible with standard trade and prudent business practices.   Potential bidders/offerors are encouraged to advise the procuring activity if they feel any language and /or requirement of a specification inadvertently restricts or limits competition or if, in their judgment, specifications do not comply with standard trade practices or impose an impractical or unreasonable procedural burden. The above text is a quote from the VA  web site:

General Purchasing Information:

Here, I am letting you hear (well read) my thinking on how I can save money and maybe get my business up and running with less hassle by requiring less funds in my loan application. Stocking my Shelves (if you will) by using other methods.

Inventory can be acquired and made available for sale in several ways, therefore your acquisition-plan should look for and review all the available methods, and use the one that will yield the best profit margin. For instance, some GCs (General Contractors) will and should permit you to sell out of the warehouse as long as no other agreement prohibit such a contract. You could become a Manufacturer’s Rep.,  or, another way, the goods could be on assignment. My favorite is, extend you a line-of-credit. Using any of these methods, the goods would be paid for after they are sold, and not purchased in advance of sale. Now, I need to get the business organized, and ready to do business with the customers.

Since I am coming out of retirement to work on this differcult assignment, I need some feed back, surely, you can spot some errors—although I hope everything is correct. This is what one should do, to participate in the VA program, next week, I talk about what you should not do!

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2 Responses to “What and How To Buy”

  1. Rus Kaohe said

    Thanks for the great information. I will definitely look into this type of transaction wtih the Government as well.

  2. James Jett said

    First I read the guidelines, then I call the VA department to be assured, that I understand them. Next, I locate companies with a contract, with vendors, wholesalers, or manufacters, and during business daily. I am convenced this is doable, and I hope it will benefit small businesses like your.

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